310 Medium Crane
The illustrations on the first box which Benbros issued with the Medium Crane show an early version of a fairly basic model which used shared castings with the first Medium Excavator. These models were most likely created when the Benenson brothers were still trading as Pure Ruber Products before the creation of the Benbros name in June 1951 but they appear to have been issued as early models in the new Qualitoys range.
Cast using just four main parts, the first version of the Medium Crane had a hollow body coloured red or orange-red, a dark- or pale-green decorated base, four wheels instead of tracks, and a yellow jib with a weighted metal hook. On the dark-green base the wheels were painted yellow but on the pale-green one they were left unpainted. Within the body were two unpainted spindles with outside handles to control the strings which operated the jib and hook. It was a simple design but had good play value. There was no identification on the model.
Before long Benbros upgraded the Medium Crane. Most of the main toymakers in the 1950's & '60's produced a version of the Ruston-Bucyrus 10-RB Crane and it was this model which Benbros created to replace the first version of the crane.
Casting and assembling the Ruston-Bucyrus Crane involved several parts. The body was a single casting, the chassis or base another, the jib a third and the two long clamps holding the rollers in place two more. Add to these the rollers themselves, the inner lifting & lowering handles, the little pulley at the head of the jib (missing on the model illustrated), two lengths of string, the hook, '10-RB' decals, and the rubber tracks, and one quickly understands the complexity of toymaking!
Benbros made two variations of the link between the jib and body of the Medium Crane. The first type had a 'slot-in' link at the base of the jib where it joined the body. To work well this depended on the model being upright and having some tension on the string so later Benbros replaced it with a pin connection.
The Ruston-Bucyrus crane was painted red & yellow with a dark-green jib and similar base. '10-RB' decals were added to both sides. 'Benbros' and 'Made in England' were cast under the body. The rollers were unpainted metal and the tracks grey rubber. The body and base were held together by a central rivet allowing 360º swivel.
On the variation with the 'slot-in' jib connection, the winding handles were painted black and positioned on either side of the body. On the later models, the handles were left unpainted and could be on either side of the body, or both on the same side, usually the right-hand one.
Benbros used two designs of a shared box for the Medium Crane and the Medium Excavator. The first was a black & red end-flap one with the variation 1 models of Medium Crane and Medium Excavator in the illustrations, and with name (and numbers) on the picture faces. On the end-flaps 'Benbros Qualitoy Made in England' was printed with a blank panel for the model details.
The second box was very different with pastel coloured illustrations of the two Ruston Bucyrus models on alternate sides with the model name (but no number) and 'Qualitoy' on each picture. The end-flaps had 'Benbros Qualitoy' and a central panel for model description (although this seems not to have been used much).
The first version of the Medium Crane is a rare model, and even the Ruston Bucyrus model is quite scarce. The boxes are hard to find, especially the second one.
Benbros Qualitoys 310 Medium Crane
1) RED body unpainted handles YELLOW jib DARK-GREEN base YELLOW pmw
2) RED body unpainted handles YELLOW jib PALE-GREEN base umw
3) RED/YELLOW body BLACK handles 'Slot-in' GREEN jib GREEN base/GREY tracks um rollers/hook/pulley
4) RED/YELLOW crane unpainted handles 'pinned' GREEN jib GREEN base/GREY tracks um rollers/hook/pulley